Jewish women waited for a messiah. They hungered to be the mother of the Savior. They bore children in the hope of a messiah. They raised, nourished, taught, and sheltered their children in anticipation. Anticipation of salvation. Hope for a victory. Faith in God’s promises.
And so many years later — here we are, doing many of the same small tasks. Aching bodies growing new life. Nursing babies waking us through the nights. Small children with small needs. Mouths to feed, over and over. Floors to clean, clothing to tend to, physical needs to meet.
But we are in a different place in this story. We are not mothering in hope anymore. We are mothering in victory. We are not bearing children to clear a field for planting, we are bearing children to work the harvest.
It can be so easy for us to get caught up in the details of mothering. The details of lost sippy cup lids, and watercolor messes. The demanding work of keeping the fridge full, and the laundry empty. The worry over high school grades and college scholarships. The work of buckling people in and out of our cars, spending the days in the details, and forgetting to see what the big story is.
The sacrifices we make every day are not made in a losing battle. They are the sacrifices of the victorious. They are the cost of a winning war.
God does not share our sentimental view of motherhood. While he delights in children, he does not speak of them in some cutesy photo shoot kind of a way. He compares them, not to tiny fairies, or dewey flowers, but to arrows. To weapons in the hand of a mighty man.
God does not tell us to desire the blessing of children because their cheerful voices will make our houses feel cozy. He tells us to desire children who will contend with the enemy in the gate.
It is natural and good that we delight in the little things with our children. God didn’t command mothers to rejoice over elbow dimples and the smell of a new baby’s head. He didn’t tell us to smile over them while they sleep, or to love the way they look in footie pajamas. He didn’t tell us these things, because He didn’t have to. That is the natural love of a mother for her children.
But the love that we need, the reminders we need, is to love them, not for our own sake, but for what God is doing through them. We need a supernatural love. We need to believe in the victory, to mother in faithful confidence.
“Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies. That thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2).
These mouths we are feeding — these are the mouths that God has ordained to use to silence the enemy.
The victory is ours, because the Savior is ours.